|Motto: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
|St Helens , Wigan
|Military Junta/Parish Council
|01744, 01942, 01695, 666
|anywhere between 1500 and 15,000, depending on which pub you ask in
Billinge is a no-man's-land in the North West of England in the old county boundaries of Lancashire. Billinge is split into 2 districts, Billinge Chapel End and Billinge Higher End. Chapel End sits within the Metropolitan Borough of St Helens in the county of Merseyside, with Higher End being a district of the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan in Greater Manchester.
This unique positioning between not only the two warring towns of Wigan and St Helens but the rival cities of Liverpool and Manchester has lead to fierce debate between “Chapel Enders” and “Higher Enders” as to who has it worse; and discussion at the United Nations Security Council as to whether Billinge should be officially designated as a Demilitarized Zone; however, the pro-Wigan stance of the Russian Government has led to the persistent veto of any attempts to deploy UN Peace Keeping forces.
Billinge may mean "(place of the) Bills", due to the disproportionate number of people named "William" during the time of the Norman Conquest in order to impress the new tyrant, William the Conquerer.
1066 and All That
The ploy to impress William the Conquerer by the villagers of Olde Billinge by changing the names of all men, women and children to William (or Bill) didn't work because a) William didn't like a kiss-ass, and b) He was French and therefore called Guillaume so the gesture didn't really work. William's troops put the entire village to the sword, replacing the population with his own kin.
Things probably happened but historians have never really bothered finding out, or at least those who contributed to Wikipedia but I'm sure if you really want to know, check out your local library.
Attack of the Spanish Armada
In 1588, the threat of invasion from Catholic Spain was in the air. Billinge Hill was part of a sequence of Beacons that were to be lit to signal the invasion was on. Billinge Hill was chosen due to the use of the site to burn various undesirables and sacrificial virgins (see Religion ). Quite what the people of the North West were supposed to do with this information was unclear but either way, the Spanish did not have anything similar in place to prevent the counter-invasion of beered-up sun-burnt northerners 400 years later.
The English Civil War
Not a lot happened between the Civil War and the early 1980s when Billinge began a period of immigration from urban areas leading to unprecedented expansion. This migration brought in with it fancy city learning that challenged the simple country way of life. There was for a time an increased number of deaths due to road traffic incidents from the appearance of cars on the streets, hitherto unknown to the native Billingers who dubbed them "Iron Oxon".
Billinge no longer has an economy. There used to be quite a lot of mining and quarrying but due to the influx of urbanites, no one really wanted to get their hands dirty so Billinge is now essentially a giant housing development.
Billinge is conveniently placed in striking distance of both Liverpool and Manchester with good road links to both. This coupled with a fairly affluent population and the habit of people leaving their doors unlocked like what your grandmother used to do in bygone times, all makes Billinge popular for burglars. Neighbourhood Watch groups emerge from time to time with grand ideas of vigilantism based on a program they saw about SAS tactics on the Military History Channel.
Billinge is pretty much fields and housing estates but there are a couple of features to note -
Car Mill Dam
Sitting on the border of Billinge, the Dam is a big lake with landscaped footpaths surrounding it. It is popular with fisherman, power boat enthusiasts and doggers.
At 179m (587ft)above sea level, Billinge Hill is the highest point in Merseyside. It commands extensive views of the surrounding areas. On a clear day, people can see right across from North Wales to Yorkshire , Liverpool, Manchester, Blackpool, Bolton, and of course, Wigan and St Helens. Billingers seeing this are often heard to exclaim, "God, we are completely surrounded by shit" and then they have a little cry. The top of the hill, known as "The Beacon" (or as it would be more appropriate, "The Nipple ") has a little building on it that was once a favorite spot for young Billingers to procreate. It has now been boarded up but now provides a canvas for budding graffiti artists. One effort saying "Staci Suks Cock 4EVA" was thought to be a Banksy but this has not been confirmed. This feature is in jeopardy as there is a massive build-up of methane under the hill due to previous land-fill. The whole lot could go up at any time.
There are many people who are affiliated to a mainstream religion but this is thought to be due to the good schools being church-run. At heart though, most Billingers follow a form of paganism like in the Wicker Man.
St Aidan's Church
St Aidan's Church is the Protestant offering in Billinge. Built sometime in the past, people go there and do whatever it is that Protestants do, which is mainly to agonise over the ordination of female bishops and whether gay clergy should be allowed, because the Bible generally said no but Jesus was supposed to pretty cool and down with the kids, promoted women in his group but seemed to prefer the company of men. Just saying is all. Anyway, what goes on inside St Aidan’s isn’t important, what is though is a very cool gravestone from 1720 with a snake encircling a skull. Some say it was a man who died after being bit by an adder on Billinge Hill , others that it was a symbol of everlasting life in heaven triumphing over death.
St Mary's Church
St Mary’s is the Catholic Church. They do not have the same concerns over the Bible vs. the Modern World as their Protestant brethren and wear their misogyny and homophobia as a badge of honour. St Mary’s is effectively the Craggy Island of the Mersey Diocese, out of site, out of mind. It doesn’t have any cool gravestones but it does have a really creepy statue of the Virgin Mary that may or may not come to life on halloween. The church also has adjacent licensed premises to purchase beer, wine and intoxicating spirits. (See St Mary’s Club )
Billinge Methodist Hall
Finally, there is a Methodist Hall. No one really knows what the Methodists do but experts speculate that they are a suicide cult awaiting the return of whatever Space Pixies they believe in. The hall provides excellent free parking if the car park for the adjacent shops is full; and also houses the local Scouts, a paramilitary successor organisation of the Hitler Youth.
There are 3 primary schools (Birchley St Mary's, Chapel End, St Aidan's) a Further Education college called Winstanley College where people practice being students before going to University, wearing their grown-up clothes and forming opinions on politics that will be abandoned when they eventually get a job and start living in the real world. there is one final institution, Nugent House School, a minimum security facility for troubled boys society would rather forget about so are left in the clutches of a Catholic Organisation. Poor bastards.
Due to obvious reasons, Billingers have a love affair with alcohol, available in a number of off licenses, churches, and most notably, public houses, listed below from the Higher End to Chapel End.
The first pub the thirsty Billinger finds, so named after the original landlord saw a unicorn in the street. This was later found to be a rat but the signage was already ordered so the Unicorn it was.
The Holt's Arms
A 17th Century pub known locally as "The Foot" because this has been shortened from the "Foot of the Causeway", purely because of its position. Nicknamed this by the locals when, giving directions for the pub to travellers "It's just at the foot of the causeway". In the 1600's this was the main road from Prescot to Wigan, which ran over Shaley Brow and ended at the bottom of Crank Road. The watering hole was the only place for miles around, where travellers could stop to refresh themselves, their horses and carriages, and being at the bottom (the foot) of Crank Road (the causeway), it's name was born. "Foot of the Causeway". It's true title "The Holt's Arms" is named after the local wealthy Baron's and landowners the "Holt" family.
The Hare & Hounds
An interesting tavern with colorful characters. Will accept freshly killed game in exchange for alcohol.
The Squires Bar
Formally the Conservative Club until Billinge's only Conservative Party member died in 2001.
The Eagle & Child
An old pub owned by a succession of former rugby players. Tasteless beer, tasteless clientele.
The Stork Inn
The haunted pub. Locals say it is haunted by the cast and crew of TV programme "Most Haunted Live" who went to investigate civil war ghosts but tragically died of stupidity.
The Foresters Arms
Owned and staffed by international playboy Kenneth Jarvis, (former landlord of the Billinge Arms in the days it was known as the Jarvis Bar) the Forresters Arms is quite possibly the most popular true pub in Billinge. The pub is always being renovated with tasteful new modern Art canvases, which the locals including Hard Neil, UK Roy, (also known as Jimmy the Hitman) and Mickey Moo are great appreciators of. Experts often remark on just how beautiful the modern art instillations are and how they compliment the ancient carpet. Other defining features of the pub are the holes knocked into the wall due to the pool table being too big for the games room, and the instant hangover received after staying for over two pints of Ken's lager. According to anecdotes by UK Roy in Particular, the lager is deliberately adulterated with noxious chemicals to punish those "Puffs" who drink lager instead of Bitter or Mild. Jarvis denies this accusation.
The pub is a pillar of the community, and holds both large scale events such as the annual "Billinge's Hardest Man" competition and smaller weekly events such as "Tapas Tuesdays" where Ken treats people from all over the North West of england to his renditions of Spanish Classics such as Patatas Bravas.
The Billinge Arms
Formally the George & Dragon, the landlord murdered a young woman there in the 1980s, rebranded as the Pavillion, then Jarvis Bar, it was the place to be if you wanted ecstasy tabs and fighting. It is now a wine bar with ideas above its station and middle class clientele who are blissfully unaware if its grizzly past.
Chapel End Labour Club
The nearest thing to a nightclub there is in Billinge, well, when someone has an 18th Birthday party there.
The Brown Cow
The locals have an eerie proficiency for banjo music and sodomy. The Shot Race was invented in this pub in the 19th century. Regulars are proud of this tradition and will challenge any stranger who walks in to a shot race.
St Mary's Catholic Club
Attached to the church, with a bowling green. This is the place you are most likely to find the Parish Priest.
The Mason's Arms
The place for an after hours drink on account of it being off the beaten track and also that half of Merseyside Police drink in there.
Carly Stenson, Actress who played Steph Dean Hollyoaks, a soap opera about a lot of blonde teenagers who have a lot of nasty things happen to them
Charles Mather former family doctor, farmer and BNP activist. He is not racist but would encourage Black and Asian people to return to their ancestoral homeland.
Blind Jimmy - formerly not blind, who frequents a number of pubs in an evening, eating a hearty meal and drinking lots of beer.
Half of the Saints team - including James Roby, Adie Gardner and Jonny Lomax.
That young lad with the daft hair, who thinks he's gods gift and pretends to be the Boss of the Billinge Arms - he lives there too.